The religious festival Tsar Days (also referred to as Royal Days) opened today in Ekaterinburg and the surrounding Sverdlovsk Region. The event is now in its 11th year is dedicated to the memory of the Tsar-Marytyrs.
The aim of the event is to inform people about the truth of the history of the family of the last Russian tsar, who were all murdered by the Bolsheviks on July 17th, 1918.
Each year thousands of pilgrims come to Ekaterinburg to venerate the saints, visit the places associated with the final days of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.
The culmination of the festival will be the traditional nighttime procession on the eve of July 16/17 which begins at the Church on the Blood (built on the site of the former Ipatiev House). Following a memorial liturgy the pilgrims form a procession and walk the 21-km route from the cathedral to Ganina Yama.
Ganima Yama or Ganya's Pit was a 9-foot deep pit at the Four Brothers Mine located near the village of Koptyaki, situated about 15 km north of Ekaterinburg. In the early morning hours of July 17th the bodies of the tsar and his family were secretly transported to Ganina Yama and thrown into the pit.
Last year the event welcomed more than 50,000 people from across Russia, as well as other countries. Organizers are expecting an even larger numbers this year.
The Tsar Days at Ekaterinburg runs from July 12-20.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 July, 2012